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Ethiopia of Abiy forgives 13,000 accused of treason or terrorism



PHOTO PHOTO: Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed attends meetings of heads of state and government on the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 17 January 2019. REUTERS / Tiksa Negeri / Photo file

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Ethiopia has pardoned more than 13,000 people in the last six months accused of treason or terrorism, according to media-affiliated media reports.

The previous government had said that around 30,000 people among students, opposition leaders, journalists and bloggers were in detention following the widespread protests that erupted in 2015.

After reformist Abiy Ahmed became prime minister in April and began to defuse longstanding tensions with neighboring Eritrea, a six-month amnesty was introduced for those who were subjected to the provisions of an anti-terrorism law that critics have criminalized dissent.

"A total of 13,200 people were given forgiveness certificates," said Fana Broadcasting Corporation, citing a statement from the Attorney General's Office.

Following the recent release of political prisoners, the parliament on Thursday legalized two secessionist groups – the Oromo Liberation Front and the Ogaden National Liberation Front – and the exiled "Ginbot 7" opposition movement, all previously considered terrorist groups.

The government is now in discussion with opposition politicians and civil society groups to make changes to the anti-terrorism law.

Reporting by Aaron Maasho; Editing by George Obulutsa and Kevin Liffey

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